Cicis: Beyond Pizza Deploys Yext to Grow Organic Search and Increase Foot Traffic
Founded in 1985 with a single restaurant in Plano, Texas, this family-friendly brand now has more than 400 restaurants across the United States. Cicis invented the unlimited pizza buffet, and since its inception, the brand has pushed the limits of eating out by saying ‘yes’ to individual tastes and empowering guests to find the flavors they love.
“Our locations are a combination of corporate-owned and franchised,” explains Douglas Kwong, Director of Digital. “If you think of a pizza in a traditional setting, parents are often stuck with the type of pizza the kids want. Well, not at Cicis! The kids can get what they want, the parents can get what they want, and everyone has his or her time around the table, with the food each individual wants. After that, the kids can go up to the game room so parents can have alone time.”
When Cicis embarked on a total rebrand, they concentrated first on retooling the offering and then launching a new brand identity. The company updated everything from the logo — officially changing its name to Cicis: Beyond Pizza — to the website and store concept design.
“When I started at Cicis, mobile made up 60-65% of our visitors, but the website needed help,” states Kwong. “It wasn’t responsive and had our old logo so was a big piece of the rebranding focus for us. There was lots of discussion going into it, not just on the look and feel, but also on ensuring everything be crawlable, easy to find, and that it incorporates enough unique and decent content.”
For Kwong, content is a top priority. “Up until this point in my career, I’ve been concerned with using content to drive ecommerce. Now, in my current position here, the idea is to give customers content they can share on social. Give them content that their friends are sharing — good content that they are finding online. Make our brand more top of mind, so that when they do make a dining decision, they think of us.”
All the same, Kwong also knows that the company’s website is not where customers will make their ultimate decision. “They will go to Google and type ‘directions to Cicis’, which means our brand information in Google has to be right,” he says. “During the rebrand, we discovered lots of issues with false and misleading information about our brand across the entire web — even basic names, addresses, and phone numbers were inconsistent. Hours were wrong. Locations were marked as open that were actually closed, and people would have driven 45 minutes to learn that. It was quite an uphill battle when we first got started.”
Yext enables brands like Cicis to power brand verified answers across their websites, mobile apps, internal systems, and the entire Knowledge Network — more than 150 maps, apps, search engines, GPS systems, and social networks including Google, Apple, Facebook, Bing, and Yahoo.
Using Yext, Cicis relaunched its website to include Yext Pages in English and Spanish. Pages from Yext are built according to search engine optimization (SEO) and app SEO best practices and are designed for worldwide content delivery with maximum reliability and performance. “If you look at our web pages before the rebrand, you will see we definitely needed help from a search experience platform like Yext,” Kwong recalls.
“Ever since we got Yext up and running, we have been able to grow organic search,” states Kwong. “Right now we are at 75% of mobile traffic coming in. Much of that can be attributed to the brand verified answers that we have been placing on our restaurants’ website pages in the past year. Thanks to Yext, we are spending significantly less time doing optimization now.”
When Cicis first launched with Yext, they generated over 20,000 listings and increased their overall listings presence by 34%. Yext helped Cicis correct 14,000+ addresses and 60,000+ restaurant names, update 82,000+ business descriptions, and upload 207,000+ logos and photos.
Kwong understands how important location is to Cicis’ success. “Of course, it’s easiest to put revenue dollars against foot traffic. But more than that, we say internally that each individual brings something unique to the table. We believe that’s true, and that’s what we try to offer our guests. It’s all about empowering our guests and feeding individuality.”